While growing up, I listened to stories of the Freedom struggle. Seeing photos of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopabandhu Das, Rabindranath Thakur, Jawaharlal Nehru, and my grandfather hanging on the wall of our school and listening to their stories, I felt I wish I could be a leader. Hope I can have a positive influence on the people around me.
One day, I asked my father, “Can you teach me to become a leader?”. My father said, “Go ask your mother.”
I went running to my mother, she was busy cooking lunch for us. She took a break and made me sit on her lap. She said, you are a leader already, but you have to find within yourself.
I asked with amusement, “when something is already within me, why I have to find it.”
She said, its a gift. Would you give a gift to anybody unwrapped? God has gifted you and wrapped it so that you enjoy the process of unwrapping and finding it yourself.
“I am anxious now. How can I start unwrapping?” I asked. She said, go ask nature. Each one will teach you how to unwrap each layer.
“What do you mean by each layer? How many layers are there?”, I enquired. She said the more you ask, the more layers will unwrap. The more you unwrap, the more refined leaders you will become.
I said, “I am going now….” and my mother watched me vanish in thin air in front of her proud eyes.
I went running to the end of the village. Standing on the ground, I looked up to the sun and asked, “Sir, Can you help me find leadership in me.”
He said, “Leader establishes and enforces rules, the Leader’s decision is final, and all must follow. All must be disciplined. Just like me, I rise on time and set on time. I never break the rules and expect others to follow the rules stringently. People call me bureaucratic, but that’s the best way for a leader to lead”. A cloud came from nowhere, and the sun went invisible.
Few farmers nearby had put fire to burn the hays. I went running there and asked the fire, “Hey, can you help me find leadership in me”, He raised his flames and said, “Leaders don’t run around on the fields. You must have a clear goal. And you should just focus on it. Follow the path that’s prescribed and reach the goal”.
I asked, “But, how would I know..”
Fire interrupted, “Don’t ask questions, just follow the path.”
Air blowing heavily and making the fire rage dragged me to a corner and said, “he is ‘Authoritative’ can’t expect any mercy from him, but he is right.”
I asked, “Understood, But I want to find leadership in me. How can I find”. Air said, “come with me.” I continued running at her speed. “You just do it. Keep moving. Be the example you want others to become. Be the role model. Don’t talk; just do it. Set the Pace for your team.” Her speed increased, and I found it challenging to maintain Pace and then I tripped over a bush and fell on the ground.
Mother earth hugged me with all love and affection. She said, “I see you running around to find leadership in you. Leadership is a commitment to serve others like your mother. You create and make the best out of everybody around you. Listen to them with empathy and build a community of people who will help develop”.
Few birds flying in the sky came and sat next to me and said, “mother earth is an altruistic Leader.” Mother earth smiled and said, ” These birds are Innovative Leaders. ” Birds said, “Yes, leaders are innovative. They come up with new ideas, new ways of getting things done. They are creative. Mother earth added, just like these birds build their nest or collect their food. always news and innovative.”
True, Banyan tree nearby said, referring to earth and birds. “They both are great leaders.”
One of the Birds said, “Sir, you are a leader of a different league.” Birds went and sat on a branch of the Banyan tree and continued, “You are so accommodative of everybody. Even a snake gets the same priority as a bird. A human gets equal rest under you as cattle. You give opportunity to all and take everybody’s opinion. “.
“Ha Ha Ha! Thank you”, Banyan Tree laughed and said, “but I am too democratic at times”.
I was pretty happy with what I learned when I met mountain on my way back home. He smiled at me and said, “You have unwrapped a lot in a day.” I asked, “Excuse me!’. He said, “Your leadership journey got a good start. Let me tell you another quality that I follow. Help others grow and reach their potential. It’s their growth that makes you a leader. Pay individual attention. Use Coaching as a Technique to lead.”
A mini-forest nearby was listening to the conversation and said, “Creating a cohesive unit of collaboration, Teamwork, and harmony is your responsibility as a leader. You build a team where every member feels like the best place on earth to take risks, do new things and enjoy the process of development.”
I came back to my mother and shared with her the learning I got. She said, now work on these; you will find a Leader within you.
Over time, I developed myself as an Affiliative like Forest. I tried building a safe environment for my team, coached people to explore their individual potential like a mountain does and preferred a democratic approach of consulting all before taking any decision. I am a bit innovative but need to work more on my authoritative, bureocratic and Pacesetting like Fire, Sun, and Air.
Thank you Mother Nature!